There is expected to be an ease in traffic congestion, following the rolling out of a multi-million-dollar automated tolling system to commuters.
See press release:
In an effort to reduce the traffic chaos and confusion at the Demerara Harbour Bridge, newly appointed Commissioner of Police (ag) Mr. Clifton Hicken this morning (Thursday March 31st, 2022) met with his Traffic Chief and the bridge manager to reassess the traffic strategy that was put in place to alleviate the traffic woes at the bridge during the peak hours.
The Top Cop and a team comprising Traffic Chief Mr. Ramesh Ashram, Traffic Officer in Charge of Region #3 Inspector Eon Issacs, and Assistant Superintendent of Police Kevin Das, met with the DHB General Manager Mr. Wayne Watson and had discussions at both ends of the bridge as they assess the traffic situation with a view towards finding a workable solution to the long-standing problem.
Mr. Hicken was pleased to point out the fact that there was a relatively smooth flow of traffic on both the eastern and western end of the bridge during the peak hours this morning, with no visible sign of the usual traffic congestion.
This, he said, is an indication that the current strategy is working in terms of opening two lanes of traffic (double lane) going east – (West Bank to East Bank across the bridge) from 6:00 am to 7:00 am. A second opening for two-lane traffic will depend on the traffic situation on both sides of the bridge.
PARTNERSHIP – GPF & DHB
Following the meeting, Commissioner (ag) Mr. Hicken and his team did a brief inspection of the new Police Outpost located at the eastern end of the DHB and which was handed over to the GPF earlier in the year. DHB Manager Mr. Watson noted that the Police Outpost is to aid in the prevention and detection of crime and to enhance the monitoring of any traffic situation in the area. Watson noted that the DHB administration has also donated a motorcycle to the police, which is already being used by traffic ranks to execute their duties in and around the bridge area.
MORE TRAFFIC RANKS ON THE ROAD
And as part of the bigger traffic strategy, Mr. Ashram said more traffic ranks will be visible at specific points along the road to assess the traffic situation and, in the event of a build-up or congestion, a decision will be taken to open up an extra lane to ease the traffic flow. Also, more traffic cones will be placed at strategic points on the road to aid in the free flow of traffic.
“The new arrangement entails having more ranks on the ground to constantly monitor the traffic situation and any buildup of the traffic on either sides, that information will be passed upwards and can trigger a double lane…the idea is to move the traffic and not get it stagnated on either side of the bridge,” the Traffic Chief posited.
NEW AUTOMATED TOLLING SYSTEM
Meanwhile, the DHB General Manager Mr. Watson has disclosed that traffic congestion at the bridge will also be eased with the rolling out of its multi-million-dollar automated tolling system to commuters from tomorrow (April 1st, 2022).
Watson noted that a pilot testing phase of the system (which started in February this year with a few select vehicles) went well, thus the move to roll out the automated system to the public from tomorrow.
Watson said commuters will only need to pay their toll via a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tag which will be placed on the front of their vehicle and on their mobile phone.
According to him, bridge commuters will be registered to a database and they will need to have funds in their mobile money account. The magnetic RFID tag will go on the vehicle and when that vehicle approaches the toll station on the eastern end of the bridge, the system’s sensors will identify the commuters’ vehicle using the tag and the toll will be deducted automatically.
He noted that with the system, different tags will be created for different vehicles, whether cars, trucks or vans.
WARNING: REMOVE DERELICT VEHICLES OFF THE ROADS
Traffic Chief Mr. Ashram is also urging persons to remove all obstructions or encumbrances on the main access roads, especially derelict vehicles/equipment and immovable vehicles parked along the roadways or act as a hindrance to traffic.
Ashram said the Police will be working closely with the NDCs and RDCs to enforce adherence to this advisory and anyone found culpable will be placed before the courts. He noted that persons can be persecuted under Section 29 of the Road Act, Cap. 51:01 of the Laws of Guyana.